There’s something wonderful about discovering good in the world–of stumbling upon Christians who are living a beautiful life of witness when you’re not even searching for such inspiration.
I recently found out that the Servants of God’s Love, a community of religious women in the Diocese of Lansing, have an apostolate mission called Emmanuel House which provides 100% volunteer driven nursing home, assisted living, and/or hospice care to elderly adults in need–all for free. One of the two homes is within running distance of my own residence, so today I ran over with the baby and jogging stroller over to see the place. And it’s really there. An ordinary ranch house, in a suburban neighborhood.
As I ran home, I was thinking about how maybe this kind of house is like a specialized version of Dorothy Day’s vision for Homes of Hospitality in every parish in the U.S. I mean, there are some parishes that aren’t (for practical reasons) ideal locations for a House of Hospitality for the homeless, due to lack of mass transit options or geographic distance from other resources for the homeless. But, there are elderly poor spread out all over our country.
I’m sure starting something like this isn’t easy. In the video below, Sr. Mary alludes to a year spent in prayer to discern how God was leading the effort. But maybe there are parishes where the resources are in place to open more homes of hospitality for the elderly.
I know that I was blessed by the witness of the Servants of God’s Love and the community that has formed to support Emmanuel House. Demonstrating, as Pope Paul VI writes in Evangelii Nuntiandi, “the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life, given over to God in a communion that nothing should destroy and at the same time given to one’s neighbor with limitless zeal” (§41).